This article argues that in the drive to develop e-learning initiatives in distance learning, simpler ways of supporting students for retention may be overlooked; for example, the linking of students in the form of mentoring and peer support networks. The article reports on three mentoring projects, in the United Kingdom, Korea and New Zealand, and shows that apparent retention gains of up to 20% with a return on investment of the order of magnitude of several hundred per cent may be possible. Whilst accepting the limitations of these studies, the article argues that there needs to be a clearer understanding of the benefits of such initiatives when deciding to invest time and funding in distance education support. It suggests that there is still much mileage to be made out of mentoring and 'study dating'.
Boyle, F., Kwon, J., Ross, C., & Simpson, O. (2010). Student-student mentoring for retention and engagement in distance education. Open Learning, 25(2), 115-130.